Margarita McGillivray to honour her country of birth in Lillehammer
Carolina Cabella was a Young Reporter for the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games, and will be reporting once again on Lillehammer 2016. In the run-up to the Games, she caught up with Mexican skier Margarita McGillivray, a young girl with an unusual sporting path.
Jocelyn Margarita McGillivray will be the only Alpine skier representing Mexico at the Youth Olympic Games that will be held in Lillehammer, Norway, from 12 to 21 February 2016. She will compete in slalom and giant slalom.
Born in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, to a Colombian father and a Canadian mother, Margarita moved to Canada when she was about 18 months old.
“My grandmother was really sick at the time, so my mom wanted to come home and be with her,” Margarita said.
As an active child, Margarita grew up in Canada skiing and doing other activities such as volleyball, soccer and cross-country running. She even used to do competitive rowing: “I started skiing when I was four, but I also do a lot of other sports. It’s constantly going from one practice to another practice. It’s hard sometimes, but I can just not play them.”
When Margarita was 7 years old, she went to Mexico to meet her dad for the first time, after he had moved from Colombia. “I told my mom that I wanted to meet my dad. So I had my seventh birthday in Mexico and spent two years there, going to school and trying to have a better relationship with my father.”
Now 17, Margarita says that their relationship is “a lot better than it was”, and that she tries to go to Mexico as much as she can. The only thing that brings her back to Canada is the snow. Although she spends most of her time in Canada, McGillivray feels proud to represent her country of birth.
“I haven’t grown up in Mexico, but I feel that it’s my home. In a way, Canada is my home because I have a lot of my friends and family there, but I feel that Mexico is where I’m supposed to be. I just feel more complete when I’m in Mexico, like I’m not missing anything. I absolutely love it there.”
The way that McGillivray got to the Mexican Ski Team started off as a joke, when her mother, during an interview, called her “the little Mexican ski team in training”. Later on, they found out that there actually was a Mexican Ski Federation, founded by Alpine skier Prince Hubertus von Hohenlohe, a descendant of German royalty, born in Mexico City, who represented the country at the Olympic Winter Games on six occasions (1984, 1988, 1992, 1994, 2010 and 2014).
“When I turned 11 was when I had my trial for the Mexican team and got in touch with everybody. I met the Prince and the whole squad for their team, and I wanted to be a part of that. There were about 10 other people trying out for the Mexican Ski Team, and I made their standards.”
Since Margarita started racing, she wanted to compete at the Olympic Games. She has been representing Mexico for the past year and will finally fulfil her childhood dream in Lillehammer.
“Competing at the Youth Olympic Games is one of the best feelings in the world. I haven’t even done it yet, and I’m super excited to go and walk with the flag and show that I’m representing my country. It’s so exciting to see this dream come true.
“My brother and I were always fighting for my dad’s attention, so this is also a way to show him that I’m independent and a very strong girl.”
McGillivray, who trains mostly in Canada and Mexico, doesn’t set up high standards for herself in terms of a medal: “I know the competition is really tough and that I’m not going to win, but I can only improve. I’m just going to do as best as I can and have fun.”
Jocelyn Margarita McGillivray wants to honour her Mexican background at these Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, and serve as an inspiration to her nation. “I’m the type of person that likes to stand out in any situation. I don’t want Mexico to be left out of this amazing event, so I want to represent them, and I want to show them what I can do. We are important too, we can do this too. We may not get all the training that everybody does, but we are still here.”